This was probably one of the last questions that the White House wanted to deal with after the mission was accomplished, but somebody had to bring it up, I’m sure. Once you’ve managed to kill the most wanted murderer on the planet, what do you do with the body? If the reports flying off the wire are correct, he was buried at sea, and the reasons given probably could have been handled better.
The United States is treating Osama bin Laden’s body in “accordance with Islamic practice,” a White House official says.
President Obama announced Sunday night that American forces killed bin Laden in Pakistan and that they took his body afterward. He said no Americans were harmed in the fight.
Asked how bin Laden’s body will be treated, a senior administration official told reporters on a conference call that “we are ensuring that is handled in accordance with Islamic practice and tradition.”
The official, who refused to be identified, said the matter is “something that we take very seriously, and so, therefore, this is being handled in an appropriate manner.”
Early Monday morning, a U.S. official confirmed reports that the body had been buried at sea.
I’m not sure how many options there really were here. I think there is a justifiable desire on the part of many Americans – particularly the family and friends of the victims in bin Laden’s many attacks – to see the proof. Of course, in years past that type of plan hasn’t worked out very well. When John Dillinger was finally taken down, his body was put on public display and wound up being a grotesque spectacle which brought a lot of criticism on the government.
With bin Laden the situation was even more complicated. Many of Obama’s statements last night seemed designed to reinforce the fact that we were not “at war with Islam” but hunting a killer. The use of the phrase “in accordance with Islamic practice and tradition” is telling, likely intended as an attempt not to further inflame the Muslim world on the heels of this historic event by violating their funeral practices. But was it worth the effort?
On the one hand, there are places which will be (and already are) enraged over the killing and no amount of “respect” for the remains is going to mollify them. Back at home, we’re already seeing reactions from people who find this treatment an insult to the victims.
Does Obama believe this treatment is going to turn crazy Muslims into decent human beings? Does he think decent Muslims will be upset that this friggin madman isn’t treated with respect?
Obama is a jerk.
But in the end, nothing was going to pacify anyone at either extreme of that particular scale I suppose. So, do we need to have the body as a trophy of war and put it on display? Reports indicate he was shot in the eye, so it’s probably a pretty gruesome sight. If we have DNA evidence and enough credible military and government witnesses I suppose that will have to be enough.
And how about photographs? ABC is reporting that the White House has the pictures, but is still debating whether or not to release them.
What does the Hot Air community have to say? Should the body have been brought back for public confirmation of bin Laden’s death? What should have been done?
UPDATE: Predictably, some Muslim clerics have already weighed in saying that the burial at sea wasn’t good enough.